Community Newspaper Turns 40 - - The News for South Mississippi


Community Newspaper Turns 40

The first copy of the Ocean Springs Record rolled off the press back in 1965. During those 40 years, it wasn't the big headlines, but the small details that keep the small coast newspaper circulating.

"Connie Wins" read the newspaper headline. Connie is Connie Moran. This story isn't about her recent victory in the Ocean Springs Mayoral race, but from 1973 when she was named Miss Teen Mississippi.

"It's really nice to have a paper that focus exclusively on our community," said Mayor Moran. "Here in Ocean Springs we have so many festivals, great schools, lots of school activities and the Ocean Springs Record has always, for years, covered them extensively."

Owner and publisher James Ricketts believes the Ocean Springs Record has survived for 40 years because the Record is committed to in-depth reporting.

"What you read in the daily or see on WLOX may be the highlights of what happened in a meeting," he said. "What we try to do is take it further and give you more of the background of what is occurring that leads to the decisions that are made."

The weekly paper is small and circulation is around 3,000. Ricketts says the only thing likely to expand would be the staff.

"My goal is to get bigger so we can do a better job of covering Ocean Springs, but I don't ever see us stepping beyond that. We are the Ocean Springs newspaper. If we try to serve anybody else, then we're just shortchanging both the people of Ocean Springs and those we try to reach out and serve."

Rickets considers "The Record" to be the community's newspaper and he just happens to be the caretaker. He says his goal is to objectively report today's news, because one day the pages will be part of Ocean Springs history.

James Ricketts and his wife Cindy ran the Ocean Springs Record for Gannett for most of the 1990s. They bought the newspaper in 2001.

by Danielle Thomas

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